Re: [Marxism] Can Zimbabwe Become Africa’s Cuba? by Mukoma Ngugi

Jscotlive at Jscotlive at
Mon Nov 7 12:17:37 MST 2005

As widely predicted by commentators, Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF swept the boards 
in Zimbabwe's recent parliamentary elections (held on Thursday, 31 March). In 
the weeks and days leading up to the elections a veritable deluge of vitriol 
and condemnation was leveled against Mugabe, confirming his status as 
international pariah and one he shares with the likes of Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam 
Hussein, Kim Jung Il, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez, the Palestinian people in their 
entirety, Iran; in short anyone who dares offer resistance to the world order 
as determined by plutocrats in Washington, D.C. 

Mugabe has held power in Zimbabwe since the nation gained its "independence" 
from the former white supremacist, apartheid state of Rhodesia in 1980, but 
it's only been in the last 6 years or so that he's fallen foul of the 
representatives of international capital in Washington, London and Brussels. Charges of 
imprisonment without trial, torture, voter intimidation and even the control 
of scarce food supplies to starve his opponents and their supporters into 
submission have been made against the incumbent regime. 

Even on the Left, voices have been raised to the point of crescendo in 
condemnation and vilification of Mugabe's regime, as they were against Milosevic's 
in the former Yugoslavia, before its breakup, as they've always been against 
the Cuban Revolution, and as they were against Saddam Hussein's in Iraq in 
advance of a war and occupation which, to date, has accounted for some 100,000 
Iraqi lives, has ushered in material poverty of an extreme previously unheard of 
in that country, and has completely destroyed any vestige of infrastructure or 
civil society. 

But, as in the case of the aforementioned regimes, is Robert Mugabe's crime 
that he refuses to allow fair elections and rules with an iron fist, as the 
spokesmen for international capital would have us believe? Or is it in truth 
that, with a series of controversial land expropriations, he's dared to attempt 
the redistribution of wealth from a privileged elite (in Zimbabwe's case a white 
elite) to millions of landless peasants, many of whom fought in the country's 
protracted and righteous struggle for independence and the overthrow of the 
previous neo-colonial state of Rhodesia, in which, as with South Africa, racism 
had been institutionalized and enshrined in law? 

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the West's relationship with Mugabe wasn't always 
this way. Indeed, back in 1980, a veritable honeymoon period followed the 
Lancaster House negotiations, during which the incipient nation's constitution was 
written (Zimbabwe's constitution being written in consultation with its former 
colonial masters). One of the most important provisions in that constitution, 
at least from the point of view of the white farmers and businessmen 
determined to retain control of the nation's wealth, was the one stipulating that the 
British government would compensate any white farmer for his land only in those 
cases where he agreed to sell to the new regime, thus effectively blocking 
any plans to institute measures of social or economic justice in a nation in 
which the very opposite prevailed. At the time, and still to this day, over 70 
percent of the most arable land was owned by the white minority, a transplanted 
ascendancy much like the Loyalist ascendancy which obtains to this day in the 
occupied six counties of Ireland, and the Zionist ascendancy in the occupied 
territories of Palestine. 

Initially, Robert Mugabe proved a faithful servant to the interests of 
international capital; and just like every other former colonial possession in that 
tortured and long-pillaged continent, he duly accepted IMF structural 
adjustments as a precondition of desperately needed capital loans and investment. The 
poverty wrought by this savage neo-colonialist control reached a nadir in the 
1990s, by which time the Zimbabwean economy had been reduced to tatters and 
allegations of state and private corruption being made against the regime by a 
coalition of trade unionists, students, clergymen, and others, led directly to 
the formation of the opposition MDC in September 2000. 

However, lest anyone be under the impression that the alternative offered by 
the opposition be an improvement on the current state of affairs, let the 
words of the MDC's economic spokesman, Eddie Cross, spoken in advance of 
Zimbabwe's 2000 parliamentary elections, leave them under no illusion. 

> We are going to fast track privatization. All fifty government parastatals 
> (a government-owned company or agency) will be privatized within a two year 
> time frame, but we are going far beyond that. We are going to privatize many 
> of the functions of government. We are going to privatize the Central 
> Statistical Office. We are going to privatize virtually the entire school delivery 
> system. And you know, we have looked at the numbers and we think we can get 
> government employment down from about 300,000 at the present time to about 
> 75,000 in five years. 

Mugabe, responding to the threat posed by this new opposition back in 2000, 
unleashed the expropriations and confiscations that have so attracted the fury 
of governments and free market demagogues in the West. His motivation for 
doing so undoubtedly had its roots in opportunism, being nothing less than a 
desperate measure designed to maintain and solidify his grasp on power. However, 
that in no way diminishes the justice of such expropriations, which in a very 
real sense have involved the expropriating of the expropriators. 
In short, Mugabe's real crime, as will be judged by history, was not one 
committed against the white privileged minority with land expropriations, it was 
the crime committed against the Zimbabwean people back in 1980 with the passing 
of control of Zimbabwe's economy to the IMF and the World Bank, thus ensuring 
the continuance of a legacy of exploitation and pillage begun by Cecil Rhodes 
in the 19th century, and subsequently carried on with vigor by successive 
British governments thereafter. 
Indeed, the entire history of Africa is written in the architectural splendor 
of European capitals, monuments and palaces paid for in the blood of millions 
of African men, women and children, either forced to work extracting the 
wealth of the most resource rich continent on the planet, or sold into slavery, at 
the behest of that breed of savage gentlemen colonizer whose exploits 
throughout the African continent have accounted for more innocent lives than Hitler 
and Genghis Khan combined. 
This is the reality of Africa, one which all the insincere platitudes about 
the crisis of debt in that continent cannot refute. 
Rather than be vilified for undertaking the expropriation of land and the 
confiscation of farms belonging to supporters of the former colonial regime, 
Mugabe should in fact be vilified for not allowing more expropriations, 
repudiating the debt and confiscating the industry and businesses in Zimbabwe that 
continue to be owned and controlled by foreign interests and corporations. 
As a bourgeois nationalist, and with a monstrous track record on human rights 
with respect to gays in particular, he is clearly not up to the task. It is 
to be hoped, however, that the consciousness instilled in the Zimbabwean people 
as a result of the expropriations that have taken place thus far has equipped 
them to continue a process which constitutes the only way forward, not only 
for Zimbabwe but for the entire developing world. 
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